Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

No significant penalties for UNC in NCAA's long-awaited report on academic scandals

No significant penalties for UNC in NCAA's long-awaited report on academic scandals

The NCAA announced Friday that it "could not conclude that the University of North Carolina violated NCAA academic rules" in what is widely considered the worst academic scandal in college sports history.

North Carolina has avoided major penalties after an NCAA infractions committee panel "could not conclude" there were academic violations in the multi-year case focused on irregular courses. The allegations also included tutors writing papers for student athletes for class credit and having others complete "take home tests".

The NCAA originally treated some of the academic issues as improper benefits by saying athletes received access to the courses and other assistance generally unavailable to non-athletes.

In its latest notice of allegations, which is the NCAA equivalent of a lawsuit or indictment, the NCAA's enforcement staff pointed to the high enrollment of athletes in the classes - almost half, according to the university-commissioned investigation led by Kenneth L. Wainstein - and emails in which advisers requested spots for athletes.

The independent study-style courses came in the Department of African and Afro-American studies and often required no attendance, grade changes, forged faculty signatures and just one paper at the conclusion of the semester.

The NCAA had said UNC used those courses to help keep athletes eligible.

"While student-athletes likely benefited from the courses, so did the general student body", said Sankey.

"The panel can not conclude that extra benefit violations occurred surrounding the offering or managing of the courses as alleged".

"Based on the general availability and the lack of specific examples, the panel can not conclude a systemic effort to impermissibly benefit student-athletes", it said.

North Carolina had a two-day hearing in mid-April in Nashville in front of the NCAA's Committee of Infractions.

The only violation the committee saw was the lack of cooperation from a former department chair and a former secretary - and two breaches of confidentiality that will not be penalized. The basketball program won two NCAA championships during that time period.

The NCAA actually began investigating the North Carolina football program back in June 2010 for impermissible benefits and academic fraud under former coach Butch Davis.

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